A New Sharon woman twice convicted of animal abuse and other offenses has lost her appeal to Maine’s high court over an order that bans her from having animals.

In an opinion released Tuesday, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court upheld Carol Murphy’s 2014 contempt conviction and praised previous courts for their handling of the case in the face of erratic and sometimes nonsensical behavior from the woman.

Carol Murphy

“The court responded with consistent restraint to Murphy’s disrespectful and disruptive behavior and maintained the integrity of the proceeding to its completion,” the judges wrote.

Tuesday’s verdict is only the latest turn in a long running saga in which Murphy has repeatedly accused the courts and law enforcement of violating her constitutional rights, denied their jurisdiction to hear her case and questioned the qualifications of judges and prosecutors.

Her first case dates back to 2004 when officers, alerted to unsafe and inhumane conditions in Murphy’s New Sharon home, removed dozens of dehydrated and malnourished animals. Many of the animals were living in overly small cages, without food or water and in rooms reeking of ammonia, according to court documents.

Murphy was convicted in 2005 of animal cruelty and four counts of possession without a permit and sentenced to 24 hours in jail, ordered to pay restitution and forbidden to own animals.

In 2010, Murphy was found in possession of more than 40 emaciated animals at her home and brought to trial again for animal cruelty as well as refusing to submit to arrest and criminal use of an electronic weapon after she used a stun gun on a Maine State Police trooper when he attempted to arrest her on a warrant and unpaid fines.

During the trial Murphy repeatedly interrupted the justice and lawyers, calling the proceedings a “kangaroo court” and claiming it had no jurisdiction over her case.

“You are a criminal and are conducting this court as a racketeering enterprise,” Murphy said to Justice Michaela Murphy.

A jury found her guilty and she served a four-year prison sentence and was again prohibited from possessing animals.

In September 2014, a neighbor reported to police that Murphy had once again begun collecting animals. When police searched her property in October of that year, they found four dogs, five chinchillas, two rabbits, two cats and a potbellied pig.

In their decision, the Supreme Judicial Court justices described what police and animal welfare officials found when they entered Murphy’s home.

“The State’s evidence, unrebutted by Murphy, demonstrated that she was, again, acquiring animals; that her house was severely cluttered; that several rooms were soaked in animal urine and feces; and that Murphy did, in fact, possess animals in defiance of the court order.”

Over the next two years, Murphy filed what the justices described as “a plethora of court papers” that “extended the proceeding over the following two years.”

In November 2016, Murphy went to a jury trial and was found guilty of contempt of the court order. She was sentenced to another 364 days in jail. It was not immediately clear when Murphy would begin to serve her latest sentence.

Kate McCormick — 861-9218

[email protected]

Twitter: @KateRMcCormick

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